Parents, please teach your children about the Do Not Disturb sign above dogs that are sleeping and/or contained. Dogs that are sleeping can startle if touched and should be allowed to sleep in peace. Contained dogs (like a dog in a crate, behind a gate, on a tether, or other enclosed space) have no means of escape from hands encroaching on their space and may feel a need to react with a growl or worse to get someone to back off. This is one important way you can help to prevent dog bites.
Parents, please do your part to help your child and your dog’s relationship to succeed. Teach your children that the place to be wild and crazy is away from your dog (and unknown dogs). If your dog (or a loose or leashed unknown dog) becomes overly aroused, movement will keep that arousal curve moving forward. Kids should be taught how to stand still and be a tree with their hands under their armpits to lower the dog’s arousal.
Parents, please remember. Past experience is how animals learn. Every interaction between your child and your dog teaches your dog whether or not to feel good about being near your child. Dogs may tolerate bear hugs but they do not enjoy them. This dog’s open mouth, relaxed body muscles, and posture (close to the child and not leaning away) shows us he is feeling good about this moment. To strengthen your child’s relationship with your dog, look to create lots of GOOD moments between your dog and your child.
Parents, a reminder that dogs – like all animals – learn positive or negative associations based on past experience.
Please teach your kids that instead of giving head locks and big bear hugs that can make dogs uncomfortable, to be a dog Super Hero, they can sit next to their dog, give him a rub on his neck and give him a treat from their open palm.
This picture makes me very uncomfortable. Parents, it is so important that you help your dog to learn positive associations with your kids and little hands. A couple ideas for doing that – teach your child to wait for your dog to come to your child, how to pet your dog and when to stop, and to give your dog treats either by placing treats on the floor or in an open palm. Kids should never pull a dog or puppy by his collar. Think bite prevention and relationship strengthening.